You seem very sincere so I'll give a short and sincere response. I never claimed AB5 makes it "impossible for drivers to work at-will," and if that's a paraphrase it's quite poor. I just said the new companies which replace Lyft and Uber are very likely to use regular hours for employees to ensure compliance with the law. That is simply a prediction. You believe Lyft and Uber are bluffing, that AB5 actually doesn't affect their core business models, and that when Prop 22 fails (as it will, because the CA Democratic Party has come out against it), life will become so much better for drivers when
I just hope you send me job links because I predict that I will be out of work and looking for a much worse job when Lyft and Uber leave the state.
The main reason that drivers lose money (as you described) is vehicle depreciation. Prop 22 offers partial mileage reimbursement. That's huge.
Prop 22 proposes a genuinely interesting beginning on a third way between employee and independent contractor. You appear to think that's an impossible category to create, and therefore the only solution to this mess is AB5. I think AB5 will only delay the inevitable rise of app-based gig work. Again, time will tell.